News of man’s salvation arrives 14 months after witnessing encounter
When Brandon Kiesling, instructor of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary, checked his email on Wednesday, Sept. 28, he discovered an interesting message. Arriving from Australia, the message came from Todd, a man whom Kiesling met on a mission trip to Brisbane more than a year earlier.
“You most probably don’t remember who I am,” Todd wrote, “but we spent an afternoon together and discussed certain misgivings I had regarding Christian theology.” Kiesling recalled the conversation, remembering that they spent several hours in a coffee shop speaking about the Christian faith.
Kiesling had pleaded with him to turn to Christ, but Todd was not ready at the time. Fourteen months later, however, Todd wrote in his email, “Well, there remains plenty I don’t understand, but I believe I know enough that I feel compelled to be baptized next month.”
Todd, who has been attending a Baptist church in Brisbane, attached to his email a copy of the testimony that he will share with the congregation during his baptism. The testimony communicated how witnessing encounters such as the one he had with Kiesling ultimately led Todd to profess faith in Christ.
Todd grew up in a Christian home but later adopted a postmodern worldview, essentially believing that everyone’s varying ideas about God were right. “Merely drifting through life for many years, an undercurrent of emptiness remained within me that I did not know how to address,” Todd wrote. “I existed in a lost state, striving after things that could never fulfill but not knowing how to live any differently.”
Unbeknownst to him, however, God was at work in Todd’s life. “Every so often, I’d encounter Christians—while traveling, in the workplace, on the street, or even through mainstream media,” he said. “In retrospect, they may have had quite varied theologies, but what held them together in my mind then was the central character of Jesus Christ.”
Such encounters kept Todd thinking about spiritual matters, and whenever people invited him to church, he accepted. As he attended more often, the truths of God’s Word that he heard through sermons and even hymns began to cut “straight through to [his] heart.” Gradually, the message of the Gospel became clear.
“I came to recognize my own innate sinfulness in view of my transgressing God’s law and hence my desperate need for a Savior from such godlessness,” Todd said. “I learned how God provided that Savior in the person of Jesus Christ, creator of the universe, who came to earth in the flesh, fully man and fully God, living a sinless life and thereby fulfilling the requirements of the law on my behalf; who was crucified, a substitutionary atonement for my iniquities, taking on Himself the punishment that was all men’s due in His sheer mercy.”
Seeing the proper response to such mercy and grace, Todd believed in his heart that Jesus rose from the dead, and he confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord. As Todd acknowledged to Kiesling, there remains much about Christianity that he does not yet grasp, but he thanks God for His patience and faithfulness.
In sharing this good news with Kiesling, Todd concluded, “Thank you for the ministry you provided whilst here, mate. I appreciated your taking the time to sit and chat with me that day in addition to your sermons.”
“Sometimes we may think our evangelistic efforts fail, but God could be up to something that we don’t see at the time,” Kiesling says in light of Todd’s story. “Praise God for another soul entering the Kingdom!”